Seth Meyers Brings ‘Late Night’ to DC
Melissa Kelley | 10/21/16 2:57pm
| Updated 10/21/16 2:57pm
Elisha Brown / American Word Magazine
Late Night With Seth Meyers brought comedic relief to D.C. last week, filming live at Warner Theater October 10th through 16th. His guests included Joe Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, Al Franken, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, Kevin Hart, Sturgill Simpson, Sarah Silverman, Jake Tapper, Lena Dunham, John Mulaney and Nick Kroll. This tour was the first time that “Late Night with Seth Meyers” had ever left New York City.
Many American University students had the opportunity to attend the filming sessions, and on Tuesday night I was among those hopping off the train at Metro Center and excitedly joining the line that looped several blocks around the entrance.
Inside Warner Theater, the audience was greeted by beautiful architecture with plush carpeting and shiny chandeliers strung from the ceiling. One of the ticket concierges said there were no bad seats in Warner Theater. Once I found a seat in the balcony, I realized he was right. The top seats were angled down so you could still see the stage, and there were TVs sprinkled throughout the audience to give people a better view of what was happening.
Around 6 p.m., a local comedian came out, cracked a few jokes and told us the ground rules of the show. First rule: get pumped because we’re seeing Seth Meyers! Second rule: clap and clap loud- especially when the teleprompter told us to. Next, don’t wave at the camera and don’t shout anything at Seth or the guests during the show. Finally, put your phone away now, and if you take it out, you’ll be asked to leave the theater.
I’d never seen “Late Night with Seth Meyers” before, but his performance didn’t disappoint. The show is structured around the most noteworthy news of the week which Meyers hilariously critiques. Then, Meyers delves into a segment titled ‘Closer Look’ where he comically analyzes a specific topic. There are also video segments sprinkled throughout the show. Tuesday’s episode featured the D.C. based video segment called, ‘Get To Know You Your Monuments”, which pokes fun at this city’s claim to fame. Finally, he brings his high-profile guests to the stage.
On Tuesday night, his intro and ‘Closer Look’ segment felt like a throwback to his time hosting the Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Report. He made quick and witty jokes, interacting with the graphics that appeared on the TV screens throughout the theater. Since the debate was recent, and since he was in Washington D.C., most of his jokes were political and revolved around Donald Trump and the election. He delivered hit after hit, nailing Trump for his alleged assaults, and featuring the Donald in his ‘Closer Look’ segment. One of the best parts of the show was a sketch involving a ‘debate’ between Clinton and Trump. Meyers asked ridiculous questions and the debate was edited to make it seem like Clinton and Trump were answering his questions realistically.
The first guest of the night was actress Lena Dunham. Dunham came stage in pointed high heels, a black leather jacket and a blazing, colorful Hillary Clinton T-shirt. She discussed the ending of her show and recounted the story of how she injured herself in a sex position before, to the delight of the audience, demonstrating said position on Seth’s couch; she called it ‘the wheelbarrow.’ She then spoke about her campaigning efforts for Hillary, including making appearances at rallies, and social media promotion. Dunham said she didn’t mind that Trump called her a ‘B list actor with no mojo,’ and joked that only thing that she and Trump could agree on was that she, in fact, had no mojo.
After the official interview, we got to see parts of the show that weren’t featured on TV. Seth made a mistake earlier in the show and had to re-tape a few lines. It was a nice reminder that this hilarious and successful person was still a human being and makes mistakes like the rest of us. Then, Seth let us know that he would be doing some promo work. First, he did an ad for the ‘Amazon Echo,’ which is Amazon’s newest music speaker. The advertisement featured him making an election joke to the speaker, and similar to Siri, the speaker answered commands. Then, after the Dunham interview, he and Lena stood with the front row audience directly behind them and did intros for different parts of the country. “Hello Portland! This is Late Night with Seth and tonight we have Lena Dunham!” Then they paused until, “Hello Florida! This is Late Night with Seth and tonight we have Lena Dunham!”
After all the promos, Seth let the crowd ask him questions. The questions generally were about how he liked D.C. thus far. He revealed to us that with the work on the show, he didn’t have a large amount of time to do tourist activities. The next question asked was the most memorable and arguably the most important: “What is your spirit vegetable?” It was cauliflower.
Another audience member asked Meyers who his favorite guests on the show were. He loved all of his guests, but he enjoyed Adam Horovitz from the Beastie Boys, one of his favorite bands. He told the crowd that all of the guests are given a Meyers T-shirt, tote bag and mug. Horovitz was the only guest to ever come out to be interviewed wearing the gifts, including the Meyers mug he was touting, which was filled with wine. The second person he loves to talk about on the show is Joan Rivers. Meyers said that the interview was more of a platform for her to tell jokes than an actual interview. He told us about a joke of hers that he’ll never forget. Joan started with, “Ugh well this story is too sad, I probably shouldn’t talk about it.” Meyers took her bait and urged her to continue. “My parents tried to have me aborted.” Both Seth and the crowd react with murmurs and Joan continues, “Yes, well I was 13 years old…”
The last part of the show featured Nick Kroll and John Mulaney as Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland from their new broadway show, “Oh, Hello.” Kroll and Mulaney were dressed up as two old men. They spent most of the interview making hilarious and obscene jokes and then for an online segment only, Kroll and Mulaney interviewed Meyers. They called this segment, “Too Much Tuna” and the interview mostly involved making Meyers as uncomfortable as possible.
All in all, it was a hilarious and eclectic show. There was a good combination of stand up comedy, video segments and guest interactions. Meyers was smooth, smart and witty. Finally, there is something special about seeing a show live. You get the rapturous applause from the crowd and the ecstatic energy. I saw the tall guy in front of me knock his head back at a particularly funny joke and felt the people next to me shake with laughter. Every joke felt louder and funnier than when seen on TV. Even Meyers recording the ads and promos felt personal and special. We were seeing parts of the show that no one got to see at home. The surreal effect of gritty comedy in an elegant theater resulted in a magical night. I, like many others, will be sure to see Meyers if he ever comes to D.C. again.